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US open: Mixed start to trading following sell-off in previous session

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Friday 18 Sep 2020

US open: Mixed start to trading following sell-off in previous session

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks were mixed after the bell on Friday as stimulus talks, Chinese apps and vaccination news were all in the spotlight.
As of 1535 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.04% at 27,913.53, while the S&P 500 was 0.14% weaker at 3,352.44 and the Nasdaq Composite came out the gate 0.16% softer at 10,893.17.

The Dow opened 11.55 points higher on Friday, narrowly avoiding extending the losses recorded in the previous session as another heavy tech-sell off snapped a four-day winning streak for the blue-chip index.

In focus on Friday, both Republicans and Democrats were still at an impasse in negotiations regarding how much aid to provide the American people following a previous $2trn package.

Donald Trump said he wasn't aversed to "the larger numbers", urging lawmakers to go for a more hefty stimulus package.

In terms of a Covid-19 vaccine, US health officials warned that any vaccinations distributed in 2020 would be in limited quantities and would not be widely distributed for another six to nine months.

Elsewhere, the US government has ordered a ban on the continued distribution of Chinese-made mobile apps WeChat and TikTok to stymie the potential use of data gathered on American citizens' personal data to undermine the country's national security.

As of 20 September, mobile application stores in the US will be prohibited from distributing or maintaining the WeChat and TikTok apps and US residents will not be allowed to facilitate for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments in the US for WeChat.

On the macro front, a preliminary reading of the University of Michigan's September consumer sentiment index revealed overall US consumer confidence rose back to its highs from April, having moved roughly sideways since then.

The University of Michigan's consumer confidence gauge improved from a reading of 74.1 for August to 78.9 in September (consensus: 74.9), with similar gains for sub-indices tied to consumers' expectations and for how they perceive the current juncture.

Still on data, the Conference Board's leading economic index for the US increased by 1.2% in August to 106.5 following a 2.0% increase in July and a 3.1% increase in June. Despite the improvement, the Conference Board wanted that the LEI still remained in recession territory and 4.7% below its February level.

Lastly, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neil Kashkari said warnings about a potential surge in US inflation were supported by no evidence and were mere "ghost stories" but added that theories that once inflation started to climb, it would accelerate, could also not be ruled out.

Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic also noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had led to "a lot of noise" in inflation data.

No major corporate earnings were slated for release on Friday.

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